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Re: Announcement: Debian Pure Blends news

On Mon, 2008-11-10 at 12:32 +0100, Andreas Tille wrote:
> On Mon, 10 Nov 2008, Neil Williams wrote:
> > I was never particularly clear on why "Custom" was a bad name to use.
> Actually "distribution" was the worst part of the old name.


> Before we have another round of discussing names: Could everybody
> who is really interested in the projects please have a look into
> the paper[1] and see if they identify with the things described there.


> IMHO Emdebian does not really fit into this. 

That's why I mentioned the flavours - traditional Emdebian is different,
but that is what will be the Crush flavour. Grip will be straight
Debian, just with smaller packages.

>  To be a Debian Pure Blend
> everything has to be inside (pure) Debian. 

For Emdebian Grip, this does apply (albeit that the scripts themselves
are in development and waiting for the Lenny release before being

>  We just try to make sure
> that people understand this fact.  If you would like to call Emdebian
> a "Custom Debian Distribution" this is perfectly fine now because this
> term is now not covered any more by a concept we are using which Emdebian
> does not really fit into.

You see, that's my problem - Emdebian Crush is very customised. Crush
will take out big chunks of Debian (like perl :-)) and Crush involves
cross-building (or rebuilding) all relevant packages.

Emdebian Grip is quite different - Crush will be based on Grip (in that
the files taken out by Grip will also be taken out in Crush) but Grip
*only* removes files from packages, it doesn't change the functionality
or behaviour of the packages themselves. The files concerned
are /usr/share/doc/package/*, /usr/share/man/*, /usr/share/info/* etc.
and Grip will make use of TDebs, DEB_VENDOR and Dpkg::Class as that
support becomes available. Grip also sets Recommends to off. Packages
can be "gripped" after download from normal mirrors but that loses the
benefit of reducing the size of the package cache data and reduced sizes
of the downloaded packages themselves, so Grip will support a customised
mirror with fewer, smaller, packages.

I guess what are talking about here is the mirrors. Do all Blends use
unchanged Debian mirrors? If so, what are Blends blending?

Emdebian Grip will use the same kind of support as Blends - a customised
installer that uses the Grip mirror, customised package selection (XFCE
as the default "desktop" install), customised install setups (ext2
preferred over ext3 as many Grip devices will be solid state storage).

As such, Emdebian Grip could be the ideal choice for putting Debian onto
a netbook like the Aspire1 and Eee. Once things start to work, I'll be
using my Aspire1 to test Emdebian Grip and then see about working with
the Eee team to iron out the details. The idea will be to get a Debian
install onto a netbook without having to change the defaults or fiddle
around with post-install configuration - i.e. a USB/net installer that
does the right thing, out of the box.

Emdebian Grip *is* intended to be Debian, just 20% smaller (maybe 30% if
I can get it that small) and with support for the kind of tweaks that
small devices might need in order to run Debian (like ext2 and XFCE
instead of ext3 and GNOME/KDE). The intention is to have Grip generation
entirely automated, even working as a repository update hook.

Emdebian Crush is a derivative, yes. When released, it will be described
in the form: Emdebian 1.0 (based on Debian 5.0 "Lenny") etc.

I'm hoping that Grip will be seen differently - as a normal Debian
install, just smaller. Whatever changes might be necessary to actually
deploy Grip, I will be seeking to fold those changes into the relevant
Debian packages.


Neil Williams

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